Oh dear. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has just released a summary of a new report on the use of USDA surplus commodity foods in school meals, mainly in California. The major findings? More than half the commodity foods are processed before they get to the schools and that means added fat, sugar, or salt (example: chicken to nuggets). More than 80% of funds for commodities are used for meat and cheese; only 13% is spent on fruits and vegetables. There is so little correlation between foods recommended by the USDA pyramid and those purchased by schools that the report displays a nifty side-by-side illustration of a commodities pyramid next to a USDA pyramid (the useful old one). It is an almost perfect inverse. The complete report has lots more good stuff in it. High marks to the groups that collaborated on this one, the California Food Policy Advocates and Samuels & Associates.
I will be discussing Let’s Ask Marion with Clark Wolf as part of the Fales Library Critical Topics Series at 5:00 p.m., via Zoom. It’s free but registration is required—here.